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How useful are sources A, B and C in understanding what the Battle for Dunkirk was like?

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Introduction

How useful are sources A, B and C in understanding what the Battle for Dunkirk was like? The Battle for Dunkirk was originally solely a strategic retreat from mainland Europe, in order to save lives. The battle only took place to stop the invading Germans from reaching the escaping Allies, or to at least give the Allies more time to retreat. The popular propaganda that was released after the evacuation led to people viewing it as a heroic retreat, because a clear image was created for the British public. This image was the British army being very brave and heroic, and achieving a clear victory in the face of the power and aggression of Germany. This image became commonly known as the 'Hell of Dunkirk', because the conditions were believed to be a sort of hell on earth. However, this image of the 'Hell of Dunkirk' can vary, when eyewitness reports and sources are read. Source A here views the Navy as the saviours of the British army, and it explains how crucial the role of the rescuers was. ...read more.

Middle

Source C is from the point of view of a seaman who was presumably aboard his ship at the time, since he would have been aiding the evacuation process. He does not tell us anything about the actual battle for Dunkirk, but does tell us how the soldiers defended the beaches. This man may not be so critical of the army because he is not in the navy, or it might be just because he was so impressed by the bravery of this one particular soldier. This source helps contribute to our perception of the battle by telling us how this sergeant fought back against the German planes, and succeeded. This source confirms the myth of the 'hell of Dunkirk' because he saw so many men die, but yet he also saw tremendous bravery. He also states that the man who was so brave was a sergeant, confirming that there were senior officers to help keep order. All the sources are written by men aiding the evacuation process by ship, but source A was written by a naval officer, and so criticises the army. ...read more.

Conclusion

These sources give us a very limited view of the battle because there is no information about the defending of the surrounding land to give the soldiers on the beach more time to escape, there is no account from an ordinary soldier who was on the beach, there are no accounts from officers who could prove that there were many soldiers, contradicting source A. To make these sources more representative, we would need there to be information about the German approach, instead just focusing on the army being evacuated by seamen and the navy. In conclusion, these sources are useful in finding out the seamen's perspective on the evacuation from Dunkirk, for finding out that there were incidences of bravery, which does concur with the myth of Dunkirk, and to see from an unaffected position how the evacuation went. You can also find out that the 'myth of Dunkirk' was similar to the reality in some areas of battle, but not in all. None of these sources refers to the battle that was taking place, and therefore cannot help us to understand the battle. However to find out what the battle for Dunkirk was like, these sources are not useful. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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